Crusader of Zakarum
Johanna is unique among warriors in that she is more concerned with protecting her back line than she is aggressively zoning the enemy team. Her tankiness and debuff-dropping trait allow her to wade through the most chaotic of fights, blinding and binding those enemies who pose the highest threat. However, being one of, if not the most survivable character in the game comes with its drawbacks. Johanna’s flail is the equivalent of a flaccid herring – she couldn’t fluff a pillow with it, let alone solo a hero or cut down the mightiest tree in the forest.
This lack of damage output is offset by Johanna’s unrelenting presence in a teamfight; she may rely on her team to deal the brunt of the damage, but that doesn’t make her a dead weight. Her Condemn ability will have enemies scrambling to get back into position, if a well placed AoE doesn’t finish them first, and her blind can buy crucial seconds against carries looking to disembowel your back line. Overall, Johanna is a potent tank who requires a well-thought-out composition and a sensibility about teamwork to be at her most effective.
Iron Skin (D, Active)
Cooldown: 20 seconds
Become Unstoppable and gain a Shield that absorbs 193 (+57.5 per level) damage for 4 seconds.
Being able to protect herself from debuffs on a consistent basis is part of what makes Johanna such a resilient hero. The shield itself is enough to absorb most killing blows and carry this crusader to safety; becoming Unstoppable is some pretty delicious gravy. Being Unstoppable makes a hero immune to all crowd control effects and debuffs but leaves them vulnerable to damage.
Cooldown: 8 seconds
Deal 48 (+10 per level) damage and slow enemies by 60% decaying over 2 seconds.
None of Johanna’s abilities put out very much damage; as such, they should be evaluated by the utility they bring. Punish‘s 60% slow can prove very annoying for enemies, especially if you manage to hit multiple enemies with it’s AoE.
Cooldown: 10 seconds
After 1 second, you pull nearby enemies toward you, stunning them for 0.25 seconds and dealing 20 (+5 per level) damage.
This incredible ability is what makes Johanna so hard to ignore. Every ten seconds she can pull all nearby enemies out of position, dazing them out of channels and clustering them for team followup. Any ability that can put an enemy somewhere they don’t want to be is amazing, and this one can hit five heroes at once.
Shield Glare (E)
Cooldown: 12 seconds
Deal 50 (+4 per level) damage to enemies and cause them to miss Basic Attacks for 1.5 seconds.
An obnoxious AoE blind that will have enemy auto-attackers fuming. This is a strong opener and harassment tool, and it should not be forgotten that it deals some damage. Try and hit at two or more enemies with it in teamfights to mitigate the twelve second cooldown.
Falling Sword (R)
Cooldown: 80 seconds
You leap towards an area. While in the air, you can steer the landing location by moving.
After 2 seconds you land, dealing 120 (+21.5 per level) damage to nearby enemies and knocking them into the air.
Aside from her stun-stopping trait, Johanna is lacking in any sort of mobility – if this bothers you, then you should probably opt to take Falling Sword for her heroic. Falling Sword is one of Johanna’s most damaging abilities and allows her some much-needed initiation and escape. While it is more damaging and mobile than her other heroic, its lack of a hard stun is a strike against it in the higher echelons of play.
Blessed Shield (R)
Cooldown: 60 seconds
Deal 70 (+9 per level) damage and stun the first enemy hit for 2 seconds. Blessed Shield then bounces to 2 nearby enemies, dealing 35 (+4.5 per level) damage and stunning them for 1 second.
A powerful burst stun, Blessed Shield brings even more utility to Johanna’s kit, allowing her to disrupt up to three heroes at once. Though its damage is negligible for a heroic, Blessed Shield is oft picked up for its reasonable cooldown and powerful CC. After all, Johanna isn’t looking to do massive damage, but rather to make room for her teammates to get kills.
Level 1 Talents
Recommended: Knight Takes Pawn or Reinforce
Johanna starts with a plethora of viable talents, forcing the player to narrow down which one they can benefit the most from. While Regeneration Master seems like it might be the most viable over a long game, Reinforce actually earns that role, allowing a Johanna to have some choice in when to mitigate attack damage. If you want to build this crusader with some extra sustain, Reinforce will pull its weight all game.
That being said, Knight Takes Pawn has surfaced as a competitive favorite – stunning a creep wave for four seconds is enough to put pressure on any lane, and the talent further excels during minion-based objectives like the Haunted Mines or Garden of Terror. This gives Johanna the ability to clear waves, which is something she struggles with otherwise.
Level 4 Talents
Recommended: Laws of Hope
The passive regeneration granted by Laws of Hope, coupled with the scaled healing it gives when activated, goes a long way towards keeping Johanna on the battlefield for extended periods. Eternal Retaliation is also viable for compositions where she wants to be spamming Condemn as often as possible. Generally speaking, Roar and Amplified Healing don’t do enough to warrant a pickup here.
Level 7 Talents
Recommended: Battle Momentum
Cooldowns are truly pesky things – when auto-attacking is as inconsequential as it is with Johanna, Battle Momentum shines. Battle Momentum allows her to cast Condemn and Shield Glare more often in teamfights, which is a powerful boon. The other talents at this level pale in comparison to the potential utility Battle Momentum proffers.
Level 10 Heroics
Recommended: Blessed Shield
Blessed Shield is the heroic ability of choice at the competitive level due to the utility it brings Johanna – stuns are a powerful feature on any hero, especially one as resilient as Johanna. Its long range and relatively short cooldown make it an all around more impactful ability.
That said, fair consideration should be given to Heavenly Sword – Johanna is bereft of any movement abilities, and Heavenly Sword gives her a powerful, controllable method of initiation and escape. A Johanna needs to evaluate the individual situation of a game before choosing one over the other.
Level 13 Talents
Recommended: Burning Rage
Johanna deals low damage and requires a huge effort to take out – as such, she is often ignored as enemies try to take down higher priority targets. This has her in the fray for a long time, make Burning Rage an extremely valuable talent. The other talents at this tier do not bring as much value to the hero as does the constant AoE of Burning Rage, especially with gap-closing abilities like Condemn and Punish at one’s disposal.
Level 16 Talents
Recommended: Blessed Hammer or Imposing Presence
Once level sixteen pops up, a Johanna needs to have a quick moment of insight: does she need to take less damage, or deal more? If AD carries like Illidan or Valla are getting her down, Imposing Presence works wonders by cutting their attack speed in half should they attack Johanna. If auto attacks aren’t a problem, Blessed Hammer is the stronger choice, as it rounds Johanna’s kit out with a bit more damage. The hammer will spiral around her three times, giving it high damage potential.
Level 20 Talents
Recommended: Radiating Faith or Indestructible
Indestructible essentially gives Johanna a second life every two minutes – upon taking fatal damage, she gains a five second shield equal to her max health, giving her the chance to escape or secure the kill. In the final battles of a game, where a single death can swing your team to victory or defeat, Indestructible can be invaluable. If dying isn’t a worry, a Johanna can safely choose to enhance whichever heroic ability she opted for.